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glorious25th

The Glorious Revolution.  To learn more about how this embroidery piece was made click here.  To purchase this piece, please click here.

Street Art #68

This little gem is an underwater scene that’s hidden in a little alleyway next to Paddy Power on Willesden High Road, NW10 (just next to Richmond Ave).  Sadly it’s an absolute bugger to take decent photos of, but I’ve tried my best!

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I haven’t done much in the way of home improvement lately but last week we finally had the flooring sorted out in our hallway (we took the carpet up over a year ago…), which motivated me to do something about the bookcase.

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This bookcase was originally a bed frame.  My dad found it in the street years ago and brought it home with him, then turned took the slats off and used them to make shelves (two slats per shelf).  It’s a little bit crooked, and it has some odd holes cut out at the back where it used to fit snugly against the handrail/bannister of our stairs.  Prior to our loft conversion it used to be on the other side of the hallway (where you can now see clothes draped on the right).  There also used to be a skylight, but the new stairs up to the loft block the light so the hallway is now quite dark.  This was what I hoped to remedy by renovating the bookcase.

I bought some Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® (in English Yellow), a tub of her Soft Wax, and here’s how it went.

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At this point you’re probably thinking “that’s not English Yellow” – and you’d be quite right!  We had some red emulsion left over from another room so I decided to put a coat of that on first.  Quite a rough coat, and then I started with the yellow.

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After one coat of yellow I decided that the shade was too cold so I added a small amount of the red emulsion to the Chalk Paint® before I started the second coat.

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I realise it doesn’t show much difference in a photograph (you can just about see where the new colour is on there), but to the naked eye there was definitely a much warmer feel.  Once the second coat of paint had dried properly I got stuck in with the wax.

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It deepened the hue slightly and also gave a lovely shine once it was buffed a little.  After that I gave it a distressed finish using sandpaper and some strategically applied shoe polish (followed by a final coat of wax).

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Again it doesn’t really show up that well in the photographs, but the distressing really does help the bookcase look as though it’s been that colour for years!

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I think we can safely say that the hallway is now well and truly brightened up!  It’s not just the colour that pleases me, but the feel appeal of the shelves now they’ve been waxed is lovely.  I won’t lie, it took a lot of work to transform this bookcase (three coats of paint which took all day yesterday allowing for drying time between coats, and then a whole morning of waxing, distressing, and buffing) and I’m a bit knackered now, but it was definitely worth doing.

Street Art #67

Spotted next to the West Bank Gallery (133-137 Westbourne Grove, W11).  Judging by the tag, this is a piece by Inkie.

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I’ve been wanting to do something linked to Terry Pratchett’s Night Watch for a while, and my first attempt was an embroidered piece (see below) that I was happy with in terms of the text, but really not happy with my poor ability to embroider a lilac blossom.

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I went back to the drawing board and decided to try using a photograph as the background, which gave me the opportunity to try image transfer onto fabric for the first time.  I found a royalty free image that I liked, then I tweaked it digitally to achieve the effect I wanted.  I then obtained a laser print out of the image; this is important as this image transfer method doesn’t work with inkjet print outs.

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If you want to try this yourself then you need to coat the image with gel medium and then press it down onto the fabric of your choice.  Work all the air bubbles out and then leave it to dry.  Once it’s thoroughly dry you wet the paper (with a spray bottle or a sponge) and then rub your finger over the paper to ease it gently off the fabric.

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My first attempt wasn’t entirely successful.  I don’t think I applied enough gel medium, and I also suspect I didn’t leave it to dry long enough.  I started to remove the paper and you can see that the image came off in places, so I abandoned this first attempt and started again.  I was a lot more thorough with the second one, and I let it dry overnight (rather than just for a few hours).

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It went much better!  It did take ages to remove all the paper.  I kept damping it down and rubbing until I thought I’d got it all off, but once the fabric had dried there was still a thin layer of paper left to come off, so I moistened it again and persevered until it had all come off.  It was a very tedious process because I was afraid that the image might come off if I rubbed too hard or vigorously, so it was softly softly and took what felt like forever.  Still, it was well worth the effort because the image looked great when I had finally got the paper residue cleaned off properly!

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The embroidery was the final stage, and that was quite time consuming too.  I wanted an ever-so-slightly weathered look for the text, to be reminiscent of the font used on the front of Night Watch, so I had chosen a finer fabric than I use for my circus letter embroidery and this allowed me to be more precise than usual with the satin stitch…but of course the trade off for precision is that it takes time.  It also gave me strained eyes.  We all suffer for our art.

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I love the finished piece, it turned out beautifully and I’m very proud of it.  It’s now available in my Etsy shop, and 10% of the sale price will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Society.

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Purple Emperor

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Last summer I blogged about having made some painted butterflies…and then never got around to putting any in my shop.  I know, I’m useless.  Anyway, I have finally added the Purple Emperor to my Etsy shop, and if you’d prefer a different butterfly then let me know and I will see what I can do.

Another guest post, but this one is all photos and no text as I neglected to ask this friend to prepare any.  Many thanks to Daisy for the photographs, taken on her trip to Germany in April.

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